Marijuana Products May Ease Autism Symptoms Says Study

According to a new study published in the journal Seminars in Pediatric Neurology, marijuana-based products are associated with improvements in the symptoms of autistic patients who have self-injurious behaviors and co-morbid epilepsy. The study is titled Autism Spectrum Disorder and medical cannabis: Review & clinical experience.

For the study researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine conducted a study with children and young adults with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) who had consumed marijuana or hemp-based products. Researchers found that those with ASD-associated aggression saw a 60% improvements in symptoms following the marijuana treatment. Those diagnosed with both ASD and epilepsy saw a 91% seizure control improvement.



The study concludes by stating that “Based on our experience, cannabis-based products appear to hold promise for use in patients with ASD. The primary reasons for use in our patient population was treatment of aggressive (including self-injurious behaviors) and epilepsy. Patients were not using these products for core symptoms of ASD such as language and social development, so the response to therapy for core symptoms was not assessed in our patient population.”

According to a study published late last year in the journal Frontiers in Neurology, the daily use of cannabidiol (CBD) is associated with the improvement of symptoms in adolescents related to autism spectrum disorder. The study concludes:”The findings presented here, taken together … indicate that CBD-enriched CE [cannabis extracts] yields positive effects in multiple autistic symptoms, without causing the typical side effects found in medicated ASD patients. Most patients in this study had improved symptoms even after supervised weaning of other neuropsychiatric drugs.”


The full abstract can be found below:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a multifactorial, pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder defined by the core symptoms of significant impairment in social interaction and communication as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. In addition to these core behaviors, persons with ASD frequently have associated non-core behavioral disturbance (i.e. self-injury, aggression), as well as several medical comorbidities. Currently, no effective treatment exists for the core symptoms of ASD. This review reports the available pre-clinical and clinical data regarding the use of cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) in the treatment of core symptoms, non-core symptoms and comorbidities associated with ASD. Additionally, we describe our clinical experience working with children and young adults with ASD who have used cannabis or CBD. At present, pre-clinical and clinical data suggest a potential for therapeutic benefit amongst some persons with ASD and that it is overall well tolerated. Further research is required to better identify patients who may benefit from treatment without adverse effects.

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